Syrian jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra (JaN) claimed a suicide bombing in this period which killed nine people at an intelligence facility in the eastern city of Dair al-Zour. JaN has now conducted several such attacks throughout the country and is boasting of its capabilities (and emphasising that its attacks have been carefully directed at security forces rather than civilians) to win more recruits. Jihadists will continue to capitalise on growing sectarianism and the ineffectiveness of the UN observer mission so, as we have been warning for several months, further such incidents are inevitable.
Our last Report discussed a double bombing in Damascus which killed 55 people. A video which purported to claim it on behalf of JaN was uploaded to YouTube shortly afterwards. However, there were numerous inconsistencies in the recording and it was not distributed via established jihadist channels. JaN then released a statement credibly repudiating the video but not the attack itself (which it could easily have done). We consequently continue to assess that JaN was most probably responsible. However, the regime likely released a fake video so as to capitalise immediately on international concern at the number of fatalities and reinforce its narrative that the rebels are chiefly jihadists.